Let there be no mistake, even with the pronouncement by the Malaysian Prime Minister that further analysis has led to the conclusion that the aircraft went down in the Indian Ocean, the inability to find and determine what happened to MH Flight 370 is as mysterious and troubling an event as we have had in the history of aviation. Information, the one thing the families of the crew and passengers, as well as the airline, want more than anything continues to be lacking.
The problem is that the absence of information and the ongoing search has created a tidal wave of “expert speculators”. The need for this new breed of expert is the voracious 24 hour broadcast news cycle. For the sake of full disclosure, I have appeared on these networks. However, the consistent theme I have advanced the need to stop engaging in speculation and guesswork.
While we can and should be frustrated with the absence of facts and the apparent inability to move the investigation forward, that hasn’t stopped the herd of so called aviation experts. These “talking heads” form an endless line into the studios of the news networks to happily speculate about anything and everything.
The accident investigators should examine every possibility no matter how remote. However, for former U.S. government officials, or, for that matter, anyone, including lawyers, to construct scenarios “on demand” which indict the pilots, the airline or the Malaysian Government when the airplane hasn’t been located, is irresponsible.
The 24 hour news cycle must be fed and certainly the disappearance of a Boeing 777 aircraft, complete with crew and passengers, is mysterious and alarming. But to engage in unbridled speculation doesn’t advance anything except raise of level of hysteria and further aggravate the already difficult tasks being confronted by everyone.
The world airline industry is very safe. As a result, when any accident occurs, it is by definition, high-profile and captures everyone’s attention. But that should not be treated as free pass to the media or “talking heads” to utilize them as vehicles for speculation.
Enough is enough! Allow the search to proceed and, with it, the investigation, unhampered by the kind of “wall to wall” media coverage which encourages speculation. This is a legitimate story, but it has become a vehicle for too many people to pontificate for the purpose of hearing themselves talk and inflate their own egos.
Give the families of both the passengers and the crewmembers, as well as the airline, a break. Let the investigators do their job. If you to criticize anything, criticize the fact that the countries involved haven’t worked together very well, that the international agreement dealing with accidents like this doesn’t seem to have been effectively observed and that the amount of information we have become accustomed to receiving when these types of events occur isn’t available and that the release of information which is available is being poorly handled by the Malaysian Government. None of this however, should be a license for anyone to engage in the kind of irresponsible speculation that certain members of the media and “aviation experts” have engaged in.
(Originally posted March 25, 2014)